The CEO of Disability Rights UK (DRUK), Kamran Mallick, has written to the Rail Minister, Wendy Morton, to express grave alarm over plans that might lead to the closure of every railway ticket office in England.
The charity asserts that it would force travellers to purchase their tickets online, despite the fact that one in eight tickets are still purchased over the counter, primarily by Disabled individuals and those over the age of 65 who do not have internet access.
DR UK Rail Policy Adviser Stephen Brookes said: “Many Disabled people cannot access smartphones or live in a place with unreliable broadband and have relied on buying tickets face-to-face. What are they expected to do if everything goes online?
“It is the ability to get wide help and information on rail journeys at these offices which is crucial for those who need additional support.”
He continued: “The offices also support those who having a range of hidden, sensory or learning disabilities are not able to use contactless, mobile smart ticket or station vending machines.”
Working with the rail industry, including as a member of the Great British Rail transition access panel, DRUK will advocate for a full impact assessment for all closures.
This is in opposition to an arbitrary cost reduction, which the charity argues will increase barriers for many disabled individuals’ ability to travel by rail.